Friday, January 14, 2011

Black & White Cookies.

I have literally just eaten the best cookie of my life.
And then again for breakfast.

I can't even describe these cookies without doing them injustice. Let's just say they were so good, I had to update my Facebook status.
I don't even care that these like quite imperfect. They're soft and cake-like, like a light lemony pancake or a cross between Lofthouse sugar cookies and shortcake. They melt in your mouth. They change your life. And for the indecisive like me, they're iced with a both a rich chocolate and a vanilla glaze.

(But if we're being honest, the vanilla glaze is the best half... and that's saying something from a chocolate lover like me.)
Apparently these are a big deal in New York. All I know is that they taste like they're from a bakery. Like a real bakery. With pink boxes and glass cases of cupcakes and the overpowering scent of vanilla and everything. They don't taste homemade. They taste like they were made by someone who knew what they were doing. Is that even possible?
I recommend starting with a big bite out of the middle.
What New Years' resolutions?

Black & White Cookies

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs

Vanilla Glaze
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons hot water

Chocolate Glaze
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon light corn syrup

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. In a small separate bowl, stir together buttermilk, vanilla, and lemon extract.

Beat together the butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes, then add eggs, beating until well combined. Mix in flour mixture and buttermilk mixture alternately in batches at low speed (scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally), beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix until smooth.

For New York-sized cookies (these came out bigger than pancakes... about 4-5 inches in diameter), spoon 1/4 cups of batter about 2 inches apart onto a buttered large baking sheet. This part is a little difficult, so gather your patience: smooth with a butter knife very delicately until they're round and flat, like uncooked pancakes. Bake in the middle of the oven until tops are puffed and pale golden, and cookies spring back when lightly touched, about 15-17 minutes.

For regular-sized cookies, spoon a large tablespoonful of batter (I used a cookie scoop... best $2 culinary investment you'll ever make) about 2 inches apart on a greased baking sheet. Smooth with a butter knife to flatten until they look like little half-dollar pancakes (is it just me or is this post making anyone else crave pancakes too?). Don't worry if they're not perfect... you're going to flip them upside down, ice them, and then eat the entire batch in one sitting. Bake for 11-13 minutes.

Transfer with a metal spatula to a rack and chill (to cool quickly), about 5 minutes. Start making your glazes!

In a bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 1 tablespoon corn syrup, and 2 tablespoons hot water, until smooth. Yay, vanilla glaze!

In a separate bowl, melt butter and chocolate in microwave for about one minute. Add the corn syrup and stir until smooth. That's your chocolate gaze.

Note: I ended up having to make an extra half-batch of both glazes.

Once the cookies are cooled, face them all bottom side up. Spread half the cookie with vanilla glaze and the other with chocolate glaze. Refrigerate for 20 minutes to set. Then prepare to eat the best cookie of your life.

Makes 4 New York-sized cookies and about 20 regular-sized cookies.

Helpful Tip: If possible I would store these in the refrigerator. If not, whatever you do, do not stack these cookies on top of each other. The icing softens and the cookies all stick together and get very unattractive.

Source: Barely adapted from Joy the Baker.